Expounding the More Perfect Way….Jesus Christ and Him Crucified Acts 18:24-28

Salvation

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F. Swaggart

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” –II Corinthians 7:10

SOMETIMES, WHEN A famous person dies, we learn from the family bits of their final conversations. A son says of his father, “He had no regrets,” and the world is a little less sad and somewhat relieved to know that nothing would have been changed in the course of that life.

But to say that you lived with no regret also means that you were never sorry about anything—never mourned a loss, suffered a disappointment, or missed an opportunity. How many in the human race can honestly say that? The answer is none. Experts say all of us have things we regret from our decisions around education and career choices to romance, parenting, and finances—usually in that order.

If we allow it, regret can touch every area of our lives. And, if we allow Satan, he will point his accusatory finger toward something behind us until we find ourselves saying, “I should have.” I should have been there when my parent died. I should have had the courage to speak up when I was being abused. I should have stayed in school and applied myself more. I should have risked rejection and told that person how much I loved him. I should have been braver and unafraid of failure.

Notice all of the I’s in that list? That’s because regret is about blaming self, which affects our emotions. We feel sorry for the ways we hurt people. When it’s clear we’ve made a bad decision, we get sad. When it’s realized that the opportunity we just missed will not come our way again, there is disappointment. The Bible calls these sorrows of the world, and they work death.

The bad thing about regret is that it takes us a while to realize it’s been sown. Years pass between the time the seed of regret—the doing or not doing—and its bitter fruit blooms in the heart of the saved and the unsaved.

Every day that we live in this world, we buy and sell with decisions we make, and, in the process, our hearts are revealed.

Esau made a bad decision when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a meal. The Bible says Esau “did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright” (Gen. 25:34).

Bible commentator Matthew Henry said, “Esau ate and drank, pleased his palate, satisfied his appetite, and then carelessly rose up and went his way, without any serious thought, or any regret, about the bad bargain he had made.”

But years later, when Isaac was old and ready to bless, Esau realized the high cost of his mistake: “And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father” (Gen. 27:34).

Esau did receive a blessing, but it was common. Henry notes, “There is nothing in Esau’s blessing which points at Christ, and without that, the fatness of the earth and the plunder of the field will stand in little stead.”

Out of regret, Esau lifted up his voice and wept, but he did not repent. Let’s look at Judas. In the end, he betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ with 30 pieces of silver and a kiss. But in the beginning of the Lord’s ministry, Judas was there, one of the Twelve. He saw the miracles—all manner of sickness and disease healed, demoniacs delivered, the dead raised, and multitudes miraculously fed. Judas, however, valued none of it, demonstrated so clearly in John 12, when Mary anoints the feet of Jesus. As soon as Judas saw the expensive ointment spent on Jesus, he demanded to know why it hadn’t been sold to benefit the poor. “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein” (Jn. 12:6).

Likewise, Judas went about caring nothing for the Lord—from the anointing of His feet to the kiss of betrayal on His face.

And then, realization. When Judas saw what the religious leaders had done to Jesus, he confessed—to them—that he had sinned, and he threw down their silver on the temple floor. The Bible says Judas “repented himself,” but the Greek word for this phrase, according to Ellicott’s commentary, is “not that commonly used for ‘repentance,’ as involving a change of mind and heart, but is rather ‘regret,’ a simple change of feeling.”

After leaving the Sanhedrin, theologian John Gill points out that Judas went out of the temple, “not to God, nor to the throne of His grace, nor to his Master to ask pardon of Him, but to some secret solitary place, to cherish his grief and black despair.”

Judas sided with the sorrows of the world, and they worked death in him until he hanged himself—some say he strangled himself—but either way, Judas died violently. Luke tells us,“falling headlong, he burst asunder the midst, and all his bowels gushed out” (Acts 1:18). Out of regret, Judas confessed his sin to sinful men, but he did not repent. So what is the difference between regret and repentance?

If we gave them voice, regret would repeat itself again and again: “If only I had it to do over, I would have done it differently. I would have done it right.”

Regret, energized by guilt, is a replay of what was done, or not done, and the pain associated with that decision. As with Esau and Judas, regret may cause us to shed some bitter tears, and maybe even confess to others what we did, but that’s as far as it goes. Regret stops short of repentance.

Repentance, on the other hand, acknowledges from the heart, “I see what I have done and I am so sorry. I realize that I have no way to help myself. I need God and His forgiveness. Only God can help me.”

Repentance is to understand the root cause of our sadness, fear, or disappointment—sin. It’s a spiritual reaction to Holy Spirit conviction and revelation—a reaction that helps turn the human heart toward God and ask Him for His mercy and forgiveness.

It’s been said that few have sinned as David sinned, but fewer still have repented as he repented. David, the boy shepherd and psalmist. Slayer of the lion, the bear, and Goliath. David, the man after God’s own heart. Yet at the time when kings went to battle, David stayed behind. He sinned with Bathsheba, and when he learned that she was carrying his child, David ordered her husband Uriah to be “in the forefront of the hottest battle” ensuring his death and hiding David’s sin. But God saw, and “the thing that David had done displeased the LORD” (II Sam. 11:27).

The prophet Nathan was sent by God to let David know that what he had attempted to hide, the Lord would openly and fully reveal.

Unlike regret, where only the mind and emotions are affected, repentance involves the heart—the spirit of man—which is susceptible to the conviction and revelation of the Holy Spirit.

“And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.” My husband notes, “David had a true knowledge of God and, therefore, when charged with his sin, his first thought was not the punishment that would surely follow, but the injury done to God.”

All sins boil down to one. The displeasing thing that King David did was to despise the commandment of the Lord to do evil in His sight. David knew this, which is why he would later write Psalm 51, the truest prayer of repentance ever prayed. It begins:
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”

Regret is behind us, but repentance is before us. “Mock penitents confess their sins and straightway forget them,” Pulpit says. “Real genuine ones find it impossible to forget.”

Out of repentance, David confessed his sin and need for God’s mercy, and he received forgiveness. And then there’s Peter, who denied even knowing the Lord. Before any of us get too judgmental of the great fisherman, we should examine our own hearts and remember that Peter loved the Lord. Peter believed Him. It was Peter who walked on the water to Jesus:

“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus” (Matthew 14:28-29).

At the close of the Lord’s earthly ministry, in the hours between the Last Supper and the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus told His disciples what was about to happen to Him and how His disciples would be scattered.

“But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all” (Mk. 14:29-31).

The Lord listened, but He knew how Peter would react that night, the same way He knew how Peter, while walking on the water, would suddenly see the wind boisterous, become afraid, and begin to sink.

Just as the Lord had said, when confronted that night, Peter denied Him three times, with oaths and cursings: “I know not the man!” Then, the painful realization: “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly” (Mat. 26:75).

Like Judas and Esau, Peter also went out and wept bitterly. The difference with Peter was the trigger of emotion. Like David, Peter remembered the word of the Lord. He remembered some of the first words he heard Him say, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” There was the revelation he received from God about who Jesus was. Surely Peter heard the echo of his own words, “Thou art the Christ.” He remembered that day on the water, when he cried out, “Lord, save me,” and Jesus immediately stretched forth His hand, caught him, and asked, “Why did you doubt?” And the most painful memory of all, after that third denial, “the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.”

Pulpit says Peter “rushed from that evil company into the night, a brokenhearted man, that no human eye might witness his anguish, that alone with his conscience and God he might wrestle out repentance. Tradition asserts that all his life long Peter hereafter never could hear a cock crow without falling on his knees and weeping.”

Out of repentance, Peter realized that he was helpless without Christ, and he allowed godly sorrow to work repentance to salvation. And this work takes time.

When Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, went to the sepulcher to anoint the body of Jesus, they found the stone rolled away, and an angel who said, “Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you” (Mark 16:6-7).

Henry points out, “Peter is particularly named. Tell Peter—it will be most welcome to him, for he is in sorrow for sin. A sight of Christ will be very welcome to a true penitent, and a true penitent is very welcome to a sight of Christ.”

In the book of John, we read of the reunion:
“Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea”(Jn. 21:5-7).

Upon hearing that it was Jesus, Peter jumped without pride or hesitation. He wanted to be the first one to reach the Lord, who was waiting to restore him. Later, Jesus would ask Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” and, in new humility, he answered, “You know that I love you.” Then, in a show of complete confidence in Peter, the Lord tells him, “Feed my sheep.”

Whether you’ve filled your life with regrets or separated yourself from God through sin, the Lord of Glory has one word for you today: Come. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).

Come if you’re thirsty or weary. Come if you’re heavy-laden. Look ahead to the shore, like Peter did, and see the risen Lord. He’s waiting for you—the fish are laid on the fire of coals with bread, and He’s saying to you, “Come and dine.”

By John Rosenstern

JSM

When establishing the Illuminati, Adam Weshaupt revealed the long-term goals of his secret society. He wrote: “The true purpose of the Order was to rule the world. To achieve this it was necessary for the Order to destroy all religions, overthrow all governments and abolish private property.”

GOALS

History supplies us the necessary evidence that Weishaupt’s goals were in operation after his death by his faithful followers. In the late 19th century, Henry Edward Manning, archbishop of Westminster, England, wrote that the Communist International was, “The work of secret, political societies, which from 1789 to this day (1886) have been perfecting their formation … is now a power in the midst of the Christian and civilized world, pledged to the destruction of Christianity and the old civilization of Europe.” 

In order to rule the world, one of the long-term goals of the Illuminati was to eliminate Christianity. Weshaupt knew he could not discredit Christianity, so he set out to dismantle the effects of the Christian lifestyle in society by gradually removing its moral constraints. The attack on the economy, family, personal property, nationalism, and education became possible through the strategies of gradualism and revolution. As a philosophy, gradualism is defined as a theory maintaining that two seemingly conflicting notions are not radically opposed, but are related by others partaking in varying degrees of the character of both. Gradualism is the doctrine that social change should be brought about within the framework of existing law. In other words, long-term goals can best be achieved by pursuing incremental steps rather than triggering instability that accompanies abrupt change. Karl Marx argued against gradualism, but called for the working class to violently overthrow the existing social structure. Marx did not believe that the road to socialism would be accessible by following existing laws. Lenin embraced Marx’s ideas and became the winner in the Russian Revolution as the head of the new Russian Communist government.

PROCESS

Weishaupt knew that in order to rule the world: “It is necessary to establish a universal regime and empire over the whole world.” 

How could a New World Order arise? What would be necessary for mankind to adopt and then adapt to the necessary changes Weshaupt and his secret society desired? Judeo Christianity and Islam have shaped a large population of the world he intended to dominate. To reach the mass population of people and address their struggles Weishaupt would initially imbed his mysteries into Freemasonry. The objective was to portray the “old theology” as insufficient and hopeless. Manly P. Hall, a well-known 33rd Degree Mason, wrote in his book, “Lectures on Ancient Philosophy”: “A new day is dawning for Freemasonry, from the insufficiency of theology and the hopelessness of materialism, men are turning to seek the god of philosophy.”

Hall would encourage the faithful followers where and when a new day was coming: “A new light is breaking in the east; a more glorious day is at hand. The rule of the philosophic elect-the dream of the ages-will yet be realized and is not too far distant.”

Has the time that Hall spoke of begun? Modern New Age teacher and author Benjamin Creme wrote this in his book, “The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom”: “The new religion will manifest, for instance, through organizations like Masonry. In Freemasonry is imbedded the core of the secret of the occult mysteries.”

NEW AGE RE-VEILED

The means of communication by Illuminati devotees is through secret codes and symbolism. They are hidden throughout society in plain sight. In the book, “The Spirit of Freemasonry,” it says, “A symbol veils or hides a secret, and is that which veils certain mysterious forces. These energies when released can have a potent effect.”

Satanist Alice Bailey said: “The hour of mysteries has arrived … These ancient mysteries were hidden in numbers, in ritual, in words, and in symbology; these veil the secret.”

In Freemasonry, the extensive symbolism, rituals and secrets are not fully comprehended by initiates and outsiders. The explanations given to appease any curiosity are feigned by the architects to conceal their hidden meanings. The concealed language of Freemasons was once given by a former Sovereign Commander: “The word reveal means to ‘re-veil,’ that is, to give one explanation and yet continue to maintain the mystery of the symbol by not explaining it in full and complete manner.” There are many interconnected organizations that cooperate together to address the ills of mankind. At their meetings they discuss various good works and ways to improve human life on earth. Although they appear as champions of social justice and human rights, they are the ones who control and cause much of the suffering in the world. We are distracted by their talk and isolated outward good works, but blinded to their long-term objective. Their objective is to foster the dawn of a New Age with a New World Order.

COOPERATION 

From its beginning, a variety of people and organizations saw the value of having a One World Order. The Illuminati story begins with an agreement between Amschel Mayor James Rothschild and Adam Weishaupt. Rothschild was said to have gathered 12 influential friends to pool their resources together so they could rule the world. Weishaupt was selected by Rothschild to lead the project. Soon after the plan was set in place, John Robison, a professor at Edinburgh University in Scotland, published a book entitled “Proofs of a Conspiracy” in which he reveals that Weishaupt had attempted to recruit him. Approximately 20 years later, George W. F. Hegel formulates his Hegelian Dialectic. Advocates to the Illuminati storyline believe the Hegelian Dialectic is the process by which Illuminati objectives are met. The process of thesis plus antithesis equals synthesis. In other words, first you incite a crisis. The public outcry to resolve the problem is followed by a predetermined solution that the public would not have initially accepted without the crisis. For example, for Americans to give up their Second Amendment rights, a tragic shooting occurs and the public outcry is the need for more gun control. The goal from the beginning was to have gun control. Justifying the goal first requires public acceptance to occur. Another recent example may be 9/11 and Islam? The list is long and wide of examples that could be used.

MONEY

Although the various players, and their organizations, cooperated on policy and process, they still lacked the mechanism that could affect people in every area of life on a practical basis. What was the missing ingredient that had to be included to guarantee their success? Money! Rothschild, who sought to control the International banking system, said: “Allow me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who writes the laws.” The central banking system would present the most ambitious means to control the money of the world. Europe, especially England, was already using a centralized banking system. In the U.S., the young nation debated this idea. The debate ended with a split decision. The split decision created the two-party system we now have today. In the United States under President Washington, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton wanted to establish a national bank fashioned after the Bank of England. Acting secretary of state under Washington was Thomas Jefferson. He opposed Hamilton’s idea of a centralized bank for a strong federal government. Jefferson’s group called themselves Democratic Republicans. Hamilton and his group called themselves the Federalists. The Federalists sought to protect the country’s infant industries. The Democratic Republican party drew its followers from planters and small farmers. The Federalists of old are known to us today as Republicans, and the Democratic Republicans as Democrats.

Satan is known as the god of the world system. His workers of iniquity are not easily identified because they appear as angels of light. Only the light of the Gospel can correctly examine their works to see if they are of God. The Illuminati and Secret Societies use a name that speaks of light but is nothing less than darkness. We can expose their evil works with the light of the Gospel:
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21) Paul gives us instruction to avoid and not partake of those who operate in darkness and secrecy:
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for what doth make manifest is light.” (Ephesians 5:11-13)

By: Frances Swaggart

Psalm 139: 13-15 — “For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret.”

WHEN DOES A HUMAN LIFE BEGIN?
God answered this question long before it was ever asked by a politician, a Supreme Court Justice, or a pregnant woman. As Creator, Almighty God is not silent on the subject of life—before, during, or after:
• “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee” (Jer. 1:5).
• “Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things” (Isa. 44:24).
• “Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves” (Ps. 100:3).
We believe that human life begins at conception—that miracle moment when body, soul, and spirit unite to form a person, none of which happens apart from the Lord.

In Psalm 139, David offers us a rare glimpse of the Creator at work—covering, planning, protecting, seeing, and thinking about humanity—body, soul, and spirit—throughout one’s entire life.

Seventeenth century Bible scholar Thomas Manton left us this beautiful exposition of David’s psalm:

“David saith, ‘I am wonderfully made’ acu pictus sum …‘painted as with a needle,’ like a garment of needlework, of divers colours, richly embroidered with nerves and veins. What shall I speak of the eye, wherein there is such curious workmanship, that many upon the first sight of it have been driven to acknowledge God? Of the hand made to open and shut, and to serve the labours and ministries of nature without wasting and decay for many years? If they should be of marble or iron, with such constant use they would soon wear out; and yet now they are of flesh they last so long as life lasteth. Of the head? fitly placed to be the seat of the senses, to command and direct the rest of the members. Of the lungs? a frail piece of flesh, yet, though in continual action, of a long use. In short, therefore, every part is so placed and framed, as if God had employed His whole wisdom about it. But as yet we have spoken but of the casket wherein the jewel lieth. The soul, that divine spark of blast, how quick, nimble, various, and indefatigable in its motions! How comprehensive in its capacities! How it animateth the body, and is like God Himself, all in every part! Who can trace the flights of reason? What a value hath God set upon the soul! He made it after His image, He redeemed it with Christ’s blood.” 1

WE ARE MADE IN HIS IMAGE
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them” (Gen. 1:27).

In this poetic passage of Scripture, we see the word created carefully used three times, each one echoing the fact that man was an entirely new creation. Regarding the word image in this verse, the following Bible commentary is excellent:
“The image of God consists, therefore, in the spiritual personality of man, though not merely in unity of self-consciousness and self-determination, or in the fact that man was created a consciously free Ego; for personality is merely the basis and form of the divine likeness, not its real essence. This consists rather in the fact, that the man endowed with free self-conscious personality possesses, in his spiritual as well as corporeal nature, a creaturely copy of the holiness and blessedness of the divine life. This concrete essence of the divine likeness was shattered by sin; and it is only through Christ, the brightness of the glory of God and the expression of His essence (Hebrews 1:3), that our nature is transformed into the image of God again (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24).” 2
While many medical professionals and scientists agree that physical life does begin at conception, there is so much more that the unredeemed do not know regarding God’s craftsmanship of the human race. For example, there is a clear connection between the “way of the spirit” and growth in the womb, as pointed out in the book of Ecclesiastes:

“As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all” (Eccl. 11:5).

God’s ways and His works are so much higher than man’s; they hardly fit into small scientific terms such as zygote, embryo, or fetus. From the beginning, God the Father calls new a life a child—a heritage, the fruit of the womb, and a reward (Ps. 127:3).

Consider Matthew Poole’s commentary on this third verse from Psalm 127:

“His reward [is] not a reward of debt merited by good men, but a reward of grace …. And although God give children and other outward comforts to ungodly men in the way of common providence, yet He gives them only to His people as favours, and in the way of promise and covenant.” 3

COVENANT AND PROMISE
Throughout the Bible, we find God keeping His Word through covenant, which oftentimes includes the promise of children.

In the book of Genesis, the Lord appears to Abraham and says, “I will establish my covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee” (Gen. 17:7).

Later, according to God’s promise, Isaac was born: “And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. (Gen. 21:1-3).

When the promise child Isaac is grown and married, we find him entreating the Lord on behalf of his barren wife, Rebekah. The Bible says, “And the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived” (Gen. 25:21).

The question has been asked, What was the reasoning behind the barrenness of both Sarah and Rebekah? Among other things, it was to show that the children of promise were to be not simply the fruit of nature, but the gift of grace. 4

THE DIVINE PLAN
“And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen. 25:22-23)

In his book, Great Women Of The Bible, Old Testament, my husband explains the “struggle” described in these verses and the spiritual meaning behind it:
“Two energies—the one believing and the other unbelieving—struggled within her and were present even before they were born. It is like the two natures—the sin nature and the divine nature—within the believer. So, as we had in the union of Abraham and Sarah the beginning of the divine plan, we have with Isaac and Rebekah the opposition to that divine plan.” 5
While still in the womb, we find Jacob and Esau carrying out part of God’s redemption plan—a plan that would reach through time all the way to Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

When God creates a life—and only He can—it is so very precious to Him, and not only because we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” in His image. Each and every life is precious to God because He has an eternal plan for that life. And that plan is salvation, purchased for each and every soul with the blood of His only Son.

Ladies and gentlemen, if God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to save us, shouldn’t we also love and value each and every life that comes into the world?

Sources:
1. Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Treasury Of David.” http://www.spurgeon.org/treasury/ps139.php
2. Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament.
3. Matthew Poole. http://biblehub.com/commentaries/psalms/127-3.htm
4. Great Women Of The Bible, Old Testament, pg. 138.

.Signs of the Times

Jesus said that just as the sky gives signs of inclement or fair weather (Mat. 16:2-4), just as nature gives evidence of something to come (Lk. 21:30), so the Endtime will be marked by signs of the coming storm. Although some of these events ultimately will take place before the Second Coming of Christ, that many are already occurring reveals the nearness of the Rapture. Some of the signs we are told to look for are as follows:

1. WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS (Dan. 9:26; Mat. 24:6).

2. RESTORATION OF ISRAEL AS A NATION (Ezek., Chapt. 37). Since 1948 the world has been closely observing the miraculous preservation of the tiny Nation of Israel from their sworn enemies who had vowed to exterminate them. God had already given them tremendous victories against astounding odds in the 1948 and 1956 wars. But in 1967 with Russian-trained and Russian-supplied armies, the Arabs once again were sent to annihilate Israel. In June, 1967, outnumbered forty to one, the small ill-equipped Israeli army totally defeated the combined armies of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. In less than three hours of the first day of the war, Israeli fighter planes destroyed 300 of Egypt’s 340 planes—a Miracle of Miracles! Can it not be obvious to anyone that God has miraculously preserved the Nation of Israel since her restoration in 1948?

3. MATERIAL AFFLUENCE (Lk. 17:27-30; II Pet. 2:6-7).

4. SPIRITUAL APOSTASY (II Jn. Vss. 7-11).

5. OVERPOPULATION (Gen. 6:11-13; Mat. 24:36-44). Already the world is bulging with over 6.4 billion people, and there is speculation about how many people the Earth can support. Within a decade that figure could be near 7.0 billion. Such numbers pose real problems for the Earth’s natural resources.

6. INCREASED KNOWLEDGE AND TRAVEL (Dan.12:4). No age has seen the speed with which man currently travels and communicates. One of two families changes residence every five years. Telephones and telexes and satellites carry instant communication. Rockets travel to outer space. The speed of this age is unparalleled.

7. NATURAL DISASTERS (Mat. 24:7). Every week, it seems, we hear of earthquakes, storms, tidal waves, or some other calamity occurring somewhere on the globe. Who has ever known of so many volcanic eruptions or so many ecological problems? Truly ours is a unique age.

8. PERILOUS TIMES (II Tim. 3:1-5). Our nation was stunned when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated November 22, 1963, followed by the assassination of Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 1968, and then the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy by Sirhan Sirhan on June 5 of the same year. Fear, a sense of peril, it seems, came upon the American people. Things were not safe anymore. Even though we were not at war, we were scared. And now we have experienced September 11, 2001, and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

9. LAWLESSNESS (Jude, Vss. 17-19). And added to that has been the more recent scourge of terrorism worldwide. We cannot walk our streets at night; we cannot leave our doors unlocked; we cannot board an airplane without wondering if some mad gunman might be aboard. We fear for the safety of our home and family. Is it any wonder if we are more uptight than our forefathers, more restless, less at peace? No age has experienced the insecurity and turmoil we are facing today.

10. FALSE PROPHETS (Mat. 24:11-12, 24). Recent best sellers on this subject have made us aware of the subtle deception of so-called Christian prophets. Many have been deceived and will continue to be led astray.

11. ANTICHRISTS (Mat. 24:5). Many false messiahs have appeared, claiming to be Christ; but we know there is only One, and this same Jesus is coming again (Acts 1:11).

12. WICKEDNESS (Mat. 24:12). During the 1960’s people began to turn their attention to the fact that we may be living in the Last Days—and indeed we are! Civil disobedience and riots were the order of the day. It seemed that a moral dam had broken loose. Overnight, it seemed, there was a total collapse of morals. There was a flood of legalized pornography, nude obscene performances on stage and movies, wife-swapping, topless entertainers, coed dormitories, skyrocketing divorce rates, sexual promiscuity and introduction of the pill, rock festivals accompanied by all kinds of open sexual immorality and drugs, communal living, rampant venereal disease, the burning of draft cards and the American flag, the popularity of anti-war songs, wholesale deserters from the armed forces … and all this with the endorsement of the liberal clergy. The liberal clergy believed that God was acting in all this. Radicals who should have been tried for treason became our national heroes.

13. DEMONIC ACTIVITY (I Tim. 4:1-3). When the Bible speaks of the fierceness of the Wrath of God or His fierce Anger, it uses a word meaning “burning. But when it speaks of the fierceness of the demonic activity or wickedness, it uses words characterizing “vehemence, harshness, danger, and savagery. This will be the spirit of this age.

14. PERSECUTION OF THE SAINTS (Mat. 24:9). Believers dying as a testimony for their Faith is nothing new in this world. Every age has had its martyrs. It is estimated that millions of martyrs are buried in the Catacombs … that in 1900, approximately 36,000 people laid down their life for Christ … that in 1970, approximately 230,000 people died for their Faith in Christ … that in 1986, approximately 330,000 followed Christ in martyrdom. How many since then?

15. DRUGS (Rev. 9:21; 18:23). Many people are surprised to learn that drug abuse is mentioned in the Bible. No, the word “drug” is not used, but another word meaning “drug” is used; that is, the Greek pharmakeia, translated “sorcery. When the word is used, it means “magic. But when it applies to drugs, drug use, and the druggist, a form of pharmakeia is used. The Bible says that in the Endtime men will give themselves to drug abuse. Has any age ever witnessed such a fulfillment of this as we are seeing today?

16. SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL (Mat. 24:14). Through literature and telecommunications the Name of Jesus Christ is going forth into all the world.

“But I say, HAVE THEY NOT HEARD? YES VERILY, THEIR SOUND WENT INTO ALL THE EARTH, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Rom. 10:18).

What nation in the world, at some point, in its history, has not heard the Gospel? Jesus said:

“So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Mat. 24:33).

That word “near” does not mean “soon” or even “immediately. It is the Greek word eggus, meaning “at hand, nigh unto, ready. The verb form means “to draw nigh or to come nigh. It means “imminent” or the next thing on the agenda. All these things either are being fulfilled or have been fulfilled. All things are “ready. We believe, then, that Christ could return for His People at any moment.

“Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come.

“Therefore BE YOU ALSO READY: FOR IN SUCH AN HOUR AS YOU THINK NOT THE SON OF MAN COMES” (Mat. 24:42, 44).

“Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of Man comes at an hour when you think not” (Lk. 12:40

Swaggart, J. (1986). A Study in Bible Prophecy (pp. 17–20). Baton Rouge, LA: World Evangelism Press.

By Loren Larson

J. Swaggart Ministry

Galatians 5:1 – “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

THERE ARE MANY LIBERTIES we are called to hold to as believers. None are liberties we have paid for, earned, or even deserve. Each and every one of them was paid for by Jesus Christ as He offered up Himself as a sacrifice for lost humanity at Calvary. It is our responsibility to stand fast in the freedoms afforded us by Christ. Let me highlight a few powerful benefits afforded to all who will dare to believe that these are theirs for the claiming!

FREEDOM FROM SIN

Jesus paid the price to free us from the penalty, the power, and (one day) the presence of sin. Most Christians are aware of the truth that Jesus died to pay the penalty for the sin that they have committed, but what most do not realize is the truth that in the Cross, the power of sin over the individual believer was broken. The sin nature that resides in every human from the moment of birth will continue to corrupt the heart of that human unless somehow stopped. Romans, Chapter 6, teaches us that our union with Christ caused the power of the sin nature to be rendered idle and useless. It still resides within the framework of the human heart, but it need not cause us trouble as long as we continually keep our faith in Christ and Him crucified. One glad day when the trump of God shall sound, we shall be glorified, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and the presence of sin will no longer be a reality for all eternity.

FREEDOM FROM LAW

Jesus gave us His righteousness so that we should no longer be accountable to the law. This does not mean that the believer is free from the moral code. The truth is, God expects far more from us — relative to holy living — when we come out from under the law. The law was never meant to be a saving agent. It convicts the human race of wrongdoing but does not supply the power to live holy. Only grace can supply the power to overcome sin. So, we are freed from the law and the ordinances that were against us because Christ nailed them to His Cross and forever took them out of the way. The Christian will never be judged by the law. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness — not the destruction of the law, but rather the end of trusting law, rules, routines, or anything else as the means to righteousness. Once again, our union with Christ has caused us to become dead to the law, and we are free from its requirements and are declared righteous as a result of our faith.

FREEDOM FROM THE WORLD

The believer has access to grace that frees us from the desire for worldly pursuits! We have all felt the pull that the world and its ungodly system can place upon the heart of the believer. It is very easy in this life to concentrate upon the temporal rather than the eternal. There’s nothing wrong with desiring God’s best for us as it pertains to what we own, what we drive, or where we live. However, when the pursuit of these temporary items chokes the desire in us for the things of God, then we have our priorities out of line, and our faith is in danger of being destroyed. The Bible tells us that we have been crucified to the world and the world to us through our union with Christ. Our faith in the Cross will cause God’s grace to remove the worldly desires from us. It will break the pull of those desires, and they will not be dominant over the priority of our walk with God.

FREEDOM FROM THE DEVIL

He has destroyed the devil’s power over us. While the Devil still remains as our adversary, constantly seeking out whom he may devour, Christ Jesus destroyed his power and his dominion by His one sacrifice on Calvary. He defeated all powers of darkness on Golgotha’s hill and destroyed the power of the Devil and all the principalities under him. He made a show of them openly and declared His victory over their power of oppression and destruction. Our simple faith in Jesus’ work sets us free from the adversary, who would destroy our faith, our family, and our world. Jesus was manifested to destroy all the works of the Devil, and this He has done. It is for us to claim our liberty from Satan’s power by ever placing our faith in Christ and Him crucified.

FREEDOM FROM SELF

He has freed us from the dominating desires to please “self.” When man fell, he became self-conscious. Prior to this, man was God-conscious and thoughts of self, if they existed at all, were secondary. After the fall in the garden of Eden, man became dominated by both sin and his selfishness. Our whole lives are about us. We put ourselves first and everyone else last. However, our union with Christ has the power to defeat selfishness and overcome selfish desires. It even has the power to place a care for others in front of our natural care for self. Now, as a servant of the Lord, I am equipped to serve others and not just myself.

All of these benefits are for those who access them daily by faith in the finished work of Christ. I have been united with Christ, crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, and raised with him to live in Him through a brand-new power source. I am determined, by the grace of God, to stand fast in the liberty that Christ died to provide!

By Loren Larson

J. Swaggart Ministry

Psalm 106:13 – They soon forgot His Works; they waited not for His Counsel:

The Setting

For the past few weeks, this simple Passage has played a key role in directing my life. The Verse describes the attitudes and the actions of the very first group of people that God called His Own, the Hebrews. Having faced the horrible bondages of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites had cried to God, and He had delivered them from Pharaoh’s grasp. How long the events of the plagues lasted, no one can be sure. Some have speculated that the plagues, culminating in the Passover, may have lasted as long as nine months. In all this time, God proved Himself faithful. He guarded the Hebrews from the plagues that struck Egypt, and He brought them out with a high hand, with the strength of youth in their just-healed bodies and the wealth of Egypt in their pockets. When Pharaoh relented and repented of letting God’s People go, and with determination mounted a chase to destroy them or bring them back, God opened up the Red Sea for His People and executed the monarch and his armies as they attempted to cross through the same. However, human nature being what it is, it wasn’t long before this blessed people began to complain. How quickly we forget all that God has done for us!

Forgetting What God Did Before

Faith is a funny thing. At times, moved by Faith in expected provision from God, we face mountains of difficult situations. However, just a few days after our latest Miracle, the one that God Himself supplied, we face a new enemy, an uncomfortable situation, or a difficult circumstance, and we seem to forget all that God has done for us. My friend, the greatest thing that God has ever done for you or me was the saving of our souls. What new life! What new joy! What eager expectation of good rose up in our hearts! With the sin stain drowned in the efficacious Blood of the Lamb of God, we felt the freedom from death’s grip and the release from the dominion of sin. Then, in our youthfulness, we entered into the time where He carried us and proved Himself to us over and over again. Faith in His Person and His Word escalated us to new heights and pacified the heart with peace that passed all understanding. How many Miracles since then has He performed for you? How many times has He come through for you? Has He ever failed to keep a Promise or perform a Word that He gave specifically to you? I must testify by saying, “Never.” In one particularly trying time, God spoke to my heart and said, “This test will be over by the end of May.” That trial concluded on May 31 of that year. When I realized that the God of Heaven had spoken and then faithfully executed His Promise, all I could do was weep and praise Him for His Faithfulness. So, why would we doubt Him in our current distress? When we fail to remember what God has done for us in the past, we pave the way for doubt and unbelief to reign supreme in our hearts. Put yourself in remembrance of what God has done in your past, and it will secure the steps for your future!

Proceeding Without God

Whenever doubt and unbelief dominate the mind and heart, the human being almost always makes the mistake of proceeding into the situation without God. Now is the time to wait for His Counsel. Now is the time to seek His Direction. If we will approach the situation with prayer, yielding to God’s Wisdom will guarantee a successful journey through the minefield just ahead. One day at a time, seeking His Will for every step, will lead you successfully across the terrain and into the safety of His Provision. Wait on Him to lead! Tell Him you are sure that He will lead you just as He has done so many times before. Recall to mind what He has done for you in the past. Cry out to Him and let Him show you what to do. Wait on His Counsel! Wait on His Guidance! Don’t move until you know you have heard His Instruction. He’s done it before; He’ll do it again. Wait, I say, on the Lord!

By John Rosenstern

J. Swaggart Ministry

2017 developed into an exciting year for Bible prophecy enthusiasts. 2017 represented several milestone anniversaries for the nation of Israel. God promised He would regather the nation of Israel in the last days. The First Zionist Council convened in Basel Switzerland 120 years ago in 1897. Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael—the Land of Israel—secured under public law. Theodore Herzl sought to prepare the Jewish people to fulfill what was in their hearts for nearly 2,000 years—their return to Israel, their chosen land. In Isaiah 11:1-12, Isaiah speaks to us that the second regathering of Israel out of the four corners of the earth will be an “ensign.” This word indicates it will be a signal of what God is doing at a particular time. Never before in history have Jews been regathered out of the four corners of the earth. We have seen the Hebrews taken out of Egypt in Moses’s time and the regathering of Jews from Babylon after 70 years of captivity. However, the Roman Empire’s dispersion of Jews in AD 70, and then in AD 135, scattered Jews throughout the world.

Balfour Declaration, November 2, 1917

World War I brought devastation to Europe, but it also changed the map of the Middle East. Many nations in the Middle East were part of the Muslim Ottoman Empire that had reigned for over 600 years. The tiny spit of land known today as Israel was part of the land governed by the Ottomans. Since the time of Jewish diaspora, Jerusalem suffered 44 besieges and multiple foreigner occupations. Although some Jews had always lived in the land, they lived under difficult conditions. The Balfour Declaration was named after British Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour. He submitted a declaration of intent to establish a Jewish homeland in Israel (Palestine). In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles entrusted the British with the administration of Palestine through a system called the “Mandate.” For various reasons the recognition of the Jewish homeland in Israel was delayed. The promise was made but not fulfilled by the British.

Resolution 181, November 29, 1947

The name “United Nations,” coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was first used in the Declaration by the United Nations on Jan. 1, 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against the Axis powers. On Oct. 24, 1945, 51 nations joined together to create the United Nations. The purpose of the UN is to maintain international peace and security, foster cooperation in solving international economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian problems; and promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Woodrow Wilson’s concept and idea of creating a League of Nations—an organization conceived in similar circumstances during the First World War and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles “to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security”—would now be a reality.

The realization of 6 million Jews destroyed in the Holocaust fostered a need to resolve the conflict in the Middle East that was left unresolved by the British during the Mandate years. The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was a proposal by the United Nations, which recommended a partition of Mandatory Palestine (Israel) at the end of the British Mandate. On Nov. 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted the plan as Resolution 181(II). Harry Truman threw the weight of the United States behind the plan by voting in favor of it. With passage by the UN, Israel was soon set to establish her reborn independence. Under great opposition by the Muslim Arabs to annihilate her, Israel would fight the birth pangs and declare her independence on May 14, 1948.

The Six-Day War, June 5-10, 1967

Ever dissatisfied with the United Nations resolution that created a Jewish state, the Pan-Arab Muslim nations never accepted Israel and sought to destroy her, as they tried in 1948. Israel’s triumphant victory enabled her to take possession of Jerusalem. From 1948 until the Six-Day War, the country of Jordan illegally occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, known in the Bible as Judea. During Jordan’s occupation there were no dissenting voices in the world of its illegal occupation. The Arab Islamic nations failed in war to retake the land. After the 1967 war, they would adopt a new strategy. They would use propaganda and make the Arab Palestinians appear to be victims and gain world sympathy by their obstinate occupying landlords—Israel.

Psalm 83

The United Nations passed Resolution 242 after the Six-Day War in an effort to establish a just and lasting peace between Israel and the nations of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and later, Syria. On Oct. 6, 1973, hoping to win back territory lost to Israel during the third Arab-Israeli war, in 1967, Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a coordinated attack against Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Taking the Israeli Defense Forces by surprise, Egyptian troops swept deep into the Sinai Peninsula, while Syria struggled to throw occupying Israeli troops out of the Golan Heights. Israel counterattacked and recaptured the Golan Heights. A cease-fire went into effect on Oct. 25, 1973. Another United Nations resolution was passed—Resolution 338. I used to think that Psalm 83 was a specific war to occur in the future. I am now persuaded that it is a time frame that began from the independence of Israel until now. The nations of the world that have sought to cut Israel off from being a nation by military power, but since their failures, they have endeavored to cut Israel off from being a nation through peace, with nearly two-thirds of the United Nations resolutions being against Israel. It is as though the very creation of this organization and existence have been about the Israeli and Palestinian issue.

Jerusalem

President Donald Trump recognized the capital of Israel as Jerusalem on Dec. 6, 2017! The year of Israel’s convergence of anniversaries! Immediately after his decision, the Islamic Arab nations of the world expressed their dissatisfaction. Their “confederate” efforts to cut Israel off from being a nation were now diminishing. The Islamic Arab majority UN Security Council cast a vote to condemn Trump’s decision. Subsequently, after a veto from the United States, the General Assembly of the UN voted 128-to-9 against Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. The majority of the world stands in opposition to Israel. Only a few nations stand by her. I am proud of President Trump’s decision to stand for God. Because it is only those who hate God that seek to cut Israel off from being a nation. God bless America!

(This article was originally printed in June, 2009.)
By Frances Swaggart –

J. Swaggart Ministry

Just recently, I received a letter from a pastor who was upset because of what I had written in my article in the May Issue of our Evangelist Magazine.  I was pointing out how the ministers of today have no problem misusing Passages of Scripture to support their own agendas.  I am alarmed at how loosely preachers treat Scripture today.  There seems to be no fear or concern as to whether or not the Scripture verses used remain true to the original context of the Bible.  Many times preachers try to use Passages that do not relate at all to the point of their writings and messages, so they will exegete the passage in such a way to make it appear to say one thing when it really says something else.  Modern ministers have actually become quite adept at this, twisting and perverting Scripture to the point that the original meaning is totally lost!  Instead of making their message line up with the Word, they attempt to make the Word line up with their message.  Yet, if anyone speaks out about such abuse of the Scripture he is harshly judged and attacked on a personal level.  Nobody wants to evaluate content anymore to find out if Scripture is being misused, perverted, or twisted by the preacher quoting it.  Instead, they would rather attack, and often viciously, the person that speaks up and says that a particular Scripture is not being used accurately!  Too many would rather defend a preacher than God’s Holy Word.

JUDGING? 

Romans 2:1 is always used in an attempt to silence those who speak out:  “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whosoever you are who judges (presents this segment as directed to the Jews):  for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself (in effect, says that God judges one who judges another in the same manner in which he himself has judged, hence, ‘condemning himself’ [Mat. 7:1-2]); for you who judge do the same things (in effect, says that the Jews were no better than the Gentiles, whom they constantly berated).”  But, does Romans 2:1 mean that we are never to judge?  Does Romans 2:1 mean that we are to ignore blatant mistreatment of God’s Word?  Of course not, because John 7:24 states, or I should say commands, that we are to judge righteous judgment, which is judgment based upon the Word of God:  “Judge not according to the appearance, (in effect, says, ‘if you think you have not violated the Sabbath in Circumcision, then how can you think I broke the Sabbath when I healed one of you who had been helpless for thirty-eight years?’), but judge righteous judgment (says that judgment must be rendered according to the whole Word of God, and not merely by taking a part and perverting it to one’s own satisfaction).” 

Only when judgment is made in another way, a way other than by the standard of God’s Word, is it a violation of Matthew 7:1, which states:  “Judge not, that you be not judged (this statement made by Christ harks back to Verses 25 through 34 of the previous Chapter; the idea is, God may permit poverty to test His Child, but fellow Believers are not to err, as Job’s friends did, and believe the trial to be a judgment for secret sin; as well, the word, ‘judging,’ as used here, covers every aspect of dealing with our fellowman).” 

DISCERNMENT 

A faithful Christian must always discern (a word not often used in the modern church).  It is one of the Gifts of the Spirit. “Discernment” means to discern whether or not what you are hearing is the Spirit of God, human spirits, or evil spirits.  Example after example of discernment is given in the Bible.  In this very same Chapter, which says, “Judge not, that you be not judged,” Verse 15 goes on to say:  “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (‘beware of false prophets’ is said in the sternest of measures! there will be and are false prophets, and are some of Satan’s greatest weapons).”  So, you see, we are actually instructed to discern and judge.  How else would we know a false prophet from a true man of God?  We must judge every minister by the Word of God, and if he is misquoting, misusing, perverting, or setting his doctrine apart from what the Scripture says for his own advantage, then he is a false prophet.  How do we know we have judged them according to Scripture?  The answer is right there in the same Passage.  Remember, every Scripture Verse must be read in its context if we are to properly understand the true meaning.

Verses 2 and 3 of Matthew 7 say:  “For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged (whatever motive we ascribe to others, such motive will ultimately be ascribed to us):  and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again (a double emphasis is given here in order to proclaim the seriousness of the Words of our Lord; when we judge others, we are judging ourselves).  And why do you behold the mote that is in your brother’s eye (the Believer is not to be looking for fault or wrongdoing in the lives of fellow Believers), but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?  (We have plenty in our own lives that needs eliminating, without looking for faults in others.  The ‘mote’ and ‘beam’ are contrasted!  The constant judging of others portrays the fact that we are much worse off than the one we are judging.)” 

MOTIVES 

Going on to Verse 4:  “Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye (the seriousness of setting ourselves up as Judge, Jury, and Executioner); and, behold, a beam is in your own eye?  (Once again draws attention to the fact that the person doing the judging is in far worse spiritual condition than the one being judged.)”  Now, it is becoming more evident that Verse 1 refers to hypocritical judgment.  A person who has a beam in his own eye is certainly not capable of judging another who may have a mote in his eye.  The total lesson of these verses is plain; you cannot accurately judge one for his sin while you have sin dominating your own life.  Verse 5 of Matthew 7 goes on to tell you what the Lord says about the person that judges in this way:  “You hypocrite (aptly describes such a person), first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then you shall see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye (the very fact that we do not address ourselves, but rather others, portrays the truth that our personal situation is worse; when we properly analyze ourselves, then, and only then, can we ‘see clearly’; this is speaking of character assassination and not the correction of doctrine).” 

JUDGING PERSONALLY 

The letter I received from this minister said, and I quote, “I was greatly disappointed when I read how Mrs. Swaggart referred to Joel Osteen as false teaching.  Saying he misquoted scriptures, etc.  I have known Joel Osteen since he was 10 years old . . . took him fishing; know him very well.  I know of no more humble and loving man.  He and I both are amazed at the favor God has given him.  She may say she was only attacking his teaching, but I saw it as an attack on him personally.”  This minister quotes Romans 2:1 (as mentioned earlier), and then he quotes Ephesians 4:29 which says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may Minister Grace unto the hearers.”  Now, the truth is that this man is judging me personally, while at the same time quoting Romans 2:1 to me.  See the double standard?  He first says we are not to judge, but then he turns right around and judges me, saying I am attacking someone on a personal level when I am not.  I am only pointing out the error in his teaching.  In this minister’s letter, not once does he mention the verse of Scripture that was being perverted and whether I was right or wrong in what I had said in my article about it.  So, the minister does not even himself discern the true meaning of the verse.  Instead, he quoted another verse of Scripture to me (Eph. 4:29), which, again, had nothing to do with the statement I made in my article.  Ephesians 4:29 refers to slander.  I, in no way, slandered anyone in my article.

PLEASING MEN OR PLEASING GOD 

Besides, how can Grace be ministered if Scripture is misquoted?  It is only when the Word of God is properly used that Grace and Healing can be ministered.  If God’s Word is distorted, it will do nothing for any individual.  He then closes out his letter with this statement:  “This article did not edify me nor did it minister grace to me.”  If he felt that way about my article, he should have pointed out to me where I had misused or twisted Scripture, but he didn’t because I didn’t misuse any Scriptures.  It was Joel Osteen who failed to minister Grace to his people with his improper use of Scripture, not me when I used Biblical discernment.  I would say this to this pastor:  “For do I now persuade men, or God?  (In essence, Paul is saying, ‘do I preach man’s doctrine, or God’s?’) or do I seek to please men?  (This is what false apostles do.) for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the Servant of Christ (one cannot please both men and God at the same time)” (Gal. 1:10).  In fact, the whole First Chapter of Galatians would be beneficial to read.

THE ISSUE 

Another point I want to make pertains to his feelings for Joel Osteen.  Certainly, it is only right and normal to love our friends, and it is only right to not want to see them misrepresented in any way.  But, whether someone is humble and loving or whether he is the opposite is not the issue here.  The issue is:  was Scripture misused or misrepresented?  If it was, then we cannot protect our friends no matter how nice his personality.  We have to love God and His Word more than we love our friends.

If our friends err in their use of Scripture, then we must obey II Thessalonians 3:6 which states:  “Now we command you, Brethren, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Apostle is saying that what he is telling the people is ‘the Word of God,’ and must be heeded!), that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks disorderly (literally means, ‘to walk out of the ranks of the Word of God’; in abbreviated form, it means we should withdraw fellowship from those who teach something other than the Cross; it does not speak of excommunication), and not after the tradition which he received of  us (after the teaching which Paul had given, which was definitely from the Lord; ‘tradition,’ as it is used here, does not mean ‘unwritten doctrines,’ as this word normally means; the Apostle is referring to what the Lord had given him, which he had faithfully taught to the people).”

If we really and truly love our brothers, then we must stand true and faithful to the Word of God, because ultimately it is the pure Word of God that will bring them blessing as well!  II Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the Word (refers to the whole body of revealed Truth, which means the entirety of the Word of God); be instant in season, out of season (presents the idea of the Preacher holding himself in constant readiness to proclaim the Word); reprove (the Preacher is to deal with sin, both in the lives of his unsaved hearers and in those of the Saints to whom he Ministers, and he is to do so in no uncertain tones and terms), rebuke (a suggestion in some cases of impending penalty); exhort with all longsuffering and Doctrine.  (This tells us that the ‘reproving’ and the ‘rebuking’ must be done with gentleness.  As well, the ‘longsuffering’ refers to a gentleness that continues even when the Message is met with rejection.  However, the ‘Doctrine’ is not to change, even though it is rejected.)” 

PERVERTING THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST 

Paul warned the Galatians about those who “pervert the gospel of Christ.”  Galatians 1:6 through 9 says, “I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him (the Holy Spirit) Who called you into the Grace of Christ (made possible by the Cross) unto another gospel (anything which doesn’t have the Cross as its Object of Faith):  Which is not another (presents the fact that Satan’s aim is not so much to deny the Gospel, which he can little do, as to corrupt it); but there be some who trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ (once again, to make the object of Faith something other than the Cross).  But though we (Paul and his associates), or an Angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you (Jesus Christ and Him Crucified), let him be accursed (eternally condemned; the Holy Spirit speaks this through Paul, making this very serious).  As we said before, so say I now again (at sometime past, he had said the same thing to them, making their defection even more serious), If any man preach any other gospel unto you (anything other than the Cross) than that you have received (which Saved your souls), let him be accursed (‘eternally condemned,’ which means the loss of the soul).” 

EXPOSING FALSE DOCTRINE 

It is sad to say that today’s modern church is preaching a perverted gospel.  We are told that we must cooperate with such modern teachers in Evangelism and other Christian works, but the Bible teaches, instead, that we must expose the false prophets.  If we do not, we have betrayed Christ and His Gospel!  The entirety of the Bible abounds with examples of false prophets who are named and exposed.  All of this modern talk about “love” is used as an excuse for not exposing error, but such is not really Biblical Love at all.  Biblical Love tells the Truth.  Hebrews 5:14 says, “But strong meat belongs to them who are of full age (refers to those who are mature in the Lord), even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.  (Such a person is walking after the Spirit.  This refers to placing one’s Faith in the Cross and not after the flesh, the flesh refers to depending on other things [Rom. 8:1-2, 11]).”  A person who is able to discern between good and evil has at least one of the major marks of Spiritual Maturity.  Vine’s Expository Dictionary says that the meaning of “discern” is to examine, scrutinize, question, determine, decide, test, or prove.  Judging is translated “discerning” of spirits, judging by evidence whether evil or good.  Those who are unwilling or incapable of discerning and/or judging between good and evil are revealing either their disobedience or their immaturity in the things of God.

Separation: The Strength of Redeemed

That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There has not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man” (Judg. 16:17).

Samson’s remarkable strength came as a direct result of his consecration to the Lord.  The term “Nazarite” comes from the Hebrew word “nazir” meaning “consecrated” or “separated.”  The Nazarite Vow required a man or woman not to cut one’s hair, to abstain from the fruit of the vine (wine), and not to touch a dead body (as death portrayed the Fall of man, while the Nazarite was to epitomize Life).  In such, the Lord made it clear how important separation from the world would be for those He would use in the Works and Callings of His Kingdom.  John the Baptist was also a Nazarite:  “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Lk. 1:15).

Samson kept the Nazarite Vow until he found a part of the world upon which he began to set his affections.  His love for Delilah (Delilah being a type of the world) caused Samson to relinquish his Vow of Separation to God.  The cutting of his hair was the outward sign of his heart’s betrayal.  As a result, he lost his strength!  The Philistines overtook him; they even took his sight.  This should be a tremendous lesson to Believers today.  The Lord views affection toward the world as spiritual adultery committed against Him.  “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I Jn. 2:15).  Under the New Covenant, however, Believers do not need to take the Nazarite Vow, because we rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit to separate and distinguish us from the world.

SEPARATION

Separation is an inherent part of the very purpose of the Church, her purpose being the proclamation of the Gospel!  It is a vital part of our witness/our testimony to demonstrate that we have been Saved and changed!  One renowned preacher, G. Campbell Morgan, said, “. . . the Church of God needs to remember that fellowship with God necessitates separation from all who fail to fulfill the responsibilities of fellowship in light or in love.”  The Lord requires separateness of Believers over and over again in the Scriptures – in both the Old and New Testaments.  “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (II Cor. 6:17).  And notice this particular verse is speaking of separation from the apostate church as well.  Just as there is no fellowship with the world, there is no fellowship with a backslidden church.  Regarding what he referred to as “secondary separation,” Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have preached God’s truth, so far as I know it, and I have not been ashamed of its peculiarities.  That I might not stultify my testimony, I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith and even from those who associate with them.” [1]

SATAN

So, why is it so important to the Lord to have His People remain separate and distinct from the world?  Why does this give the Lord glory?  Because this present world is actually ruled by Satan.  Since the Fall, Satan has been able to influence man in all his actions and endeavors, so the ways of unredeemed man actually reflect the will of the enemy, not the Lord’s.  One pastor recently asked, “Is there any Scriptural directive calling us to renovate the Land of the Lost into a facade of faith so that it will appear to be Christian owned and operated when our Lord returns, even though it is clearly stated four times in Scripture that Satan is the ‘prince of this world’?”[2]  You see, Biblical separation is separation from Satan and from the antichrist system he is presently establishing.  Christians are considered foreigners in an evil kingdom, which is why it is so important for the Child of God to develop discernment as he grows.  “But strong meat belongs to them who are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).  Satan will even disguise his followers as professing Believers to cause confusion.  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I Jn. 4:1).

THE WAY OUT

God allows His people to remain in Satan’s territory for one purpose — to show others the Way out!  This is the only reason we remain on Earth after we are Saved, so we must remain “in” it without being “of ” it!  “No man who wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him Who has chosen him to be a soldier” (II Tim. 2:4).  Of course, the Devil is not pleased with our inhabitance, and he will try everything in his power to pull us back into fellowship with his fellows!  He even offered Christ the kingdoms of this Earth:  “And the Devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, showed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the Devil said unto Him, All this power will I give You, and the glory of them:  for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.  If You therefore will worship me, all shall be Yours.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind Me, Satan:  for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve” (Lk. 4:5-8).

WEAK?

It is also interesting to note that during the time of Samson, men with long hair were viewed as weak, yet it was one of the requirements of the Nazarite Vow.  Certainly it was a humbling position to be in, but it actually spoke volumes regarding the Source of Samson’s strength.  It gave God the glory.  It is the same today.  Separation may put a Believer in a position of weakness in the eyes of the world.  For instance, a particular Believer may refuse to partner in business with a nonbeliever, possibly lessening his/her potential to make a greater financial income.  But, it is just such a Believer whom the Lord delights in strengthening and supplying by His Power!  It is when a man humbles himself to the guiding of the Spirit that the Lord may use him the most mightily!  “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (II Cor. 12:10).  Likewise, the Church as a whole is always strengthened when she remains separate.  Again, this is God’s way of demonstrating His Own Strength!  When the Church intermingles with the world and/or takes on the methods and ways of the world, the Lord is not glorified as He should be.  The Work Jesus did at Calvary is distinct and exclusive, and Faith in it always begins to distinguish you from the world.  If you deny this separation, you deny the Cross!

UNITY?

Yet, this is the precise sin of the modern church.  The modern church is preaching unity rather than separation!  Preachers today seem to think there is “strength in numbers,” but this is a false strength that will ultimately break down in the face of adversity.  It is the Lord’s Power Alone that can defeat the enemy’s schemes, which is why Satan constantly tries to get the Church to look for strength in anything other than Christ and Him Crucified!  Believers must understand that the Lord wants His Church to be different!  But, the modern church strives to appeal to, work with, and unify with the world and/or other apostate churches.  Remember what happened when Samson chose to love Delilah in this manner?  She eventually caused him to betray his First Love.  But nonetheless, the modern church has invented a new “Do-Good Gospel.”  In other words, they say in “doing-good” together and “loving” one another despite our differences, people will begin to “experience” God on an individual basis.  While it is true that “good works” can produce a spiritual “experience,” the spirit felt is not necessarily the Lord.  Rather “good works” produce a religious spirit (when done apart from proper Faith).  This is quite disturbing because churches quickly fill up with religious people rather than Saved people.  People who are simply religious cannot tell the difference in true and false doctrine, so their criteria for knowing about the Lord becomes “experience.”  Some Protestants have even converted back to Roman Catholicism simply because of the spiritual “experiences” they have had with mystic Catholic rituals, no matter that these are completely unbiblical and ungodly.  The Emergent Church is one of the greatest promoters of this road back to Rome as they emphasize and promote unbiblical spiritual attractions such as prayer stations, statues, incense, liturgy, candles, icons, and the sacraments including the Eucharist.

UNEQUALLY YOKED?

Another way the Lord admonishes Believers to remain separate is by requiring us not to be unequally yoked.  “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has Righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness? (II Cor. 6:14).  The yoke is quite a powerful symbol in Scripture!  It referred to the cattle yoke which bound animals to a plow so that they can work in unison.  Old Testament law forbade even an ox and donkey to plow together (Deut. 22:10).  The yoke was also used figuratively to refer to bondage and the burden born by slaves (Ex. 6:6-7; I Tim. 6:1).  Jesus would later tell us, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Mat. 11:30).  When a person is Saved, he has a newfound yoke with Jesus which has freed him from all the enslaving yokes of the enemy.  So, while it is perfectly fine for Christians to participate in society, they should not join in common cause with it.  Christ cannot be joined to a fallen world.  Those who walk by Faith can never walk with those who walk by the flesh and self-will. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).  God even forbade Israel from making international alliances for defensive and economic purposes — even though the practice was common among other nations (Ex. 23:32; Josh. 23:12).  The primary reason for this was spiritual, seeing that treaty relationships would involve contact with pagan religions and, thereby, call for toleration of pagan practices.  This is exactly what happened when Solomon got involved in international alliances.  When Jehoshaphat made a trade alliance with Israel’s wicked king, Ahaziah, a prophet came to him and announced, “. . . Because you have joined yourself with Ahaziah, the LORD has broken your works . . .” 
(II Chron. 20:37).[3]

ALLIANCES

Sadly, these are just the types of alliances that are going on in the modern church.  Pastors like Rick Warren are teaming-up with globalist/communist leaders to work toward common goals, but all this is really a guise for the Antichrist to bring about his one-world order.  “Rick Warren was invited by the U.N. and accepted, to come to the U.N. Interfaith Prayer Meeting which was attended by leaders of Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism and every other faith.  Since most of these religions don’t believe in Christ, it is clear this was not a Christian prayer meeting but was a guise to have a globalist political conference.  The U.N. believes that religions must be pacified and brought into its fold in order to have world peace.  The U.N.’s plan is to synthesize all religions into one, and Rick Warren seems to be the point man to facilitate this.  That is why Rick Warren said, ‘The man of peace can even be a Moslem.’” [4]   False preachers try to impose a guilt trip on Christians if they will not sacrifice their personal needs for the needs of the community.  But, remember the word “communism” actually comes from the word “community,” and ultimately the church will lose her freedom to a religious dictatorship if she refuses to remain separate from the governmental affairs of this world.  This country has stood on the principle of the separation of church and state for a reason!

SEPARATION NOT ISOLATION

The point should also be made that in the Church some have confused the idea of separation with isolation.  For instance, we have seen monks and/or nuns of many religions isolate themselves throughout history, but this is not what God meant by separation.  Jesus ate with sinners without compromising.  “Actually, Jesus contemplated that His people would have such intercourse with the world, and that in it they would do good.  But in none of this is there to be any compromise of principle; in none to be any yielding to the opinions and practices that are contrary to the Word of God.  As we have already stated, if we isolate ourselves, we cannot let our light shine. . . .  As well, separation’ must be that which is guided and directed by the Holy Spirit and not legalism.”  “Nevertheless, having said that, one can be certain that the Holy Spirit is not going to place a seal of approval upon that which is obviously wrong.”5If the Holy Spirit is telling you to separate and be different in any area of your life, do it!  Even if other professing Believers do not, you must obey for yourself, because what you are sensing is actually the beginnings of an eternal separation.  Remember, only the Lord knows who is truly Saved and who is not.  God’s Word tells us that “the wheat and the tares” will reside together, but that the Lord will separate them in the end (Mat., Chpt. 13).  So Believer, rejoice and obey the Lord, because what you are sensing is simply His Spirit beginning this work in the hearts of those who are truly His!  You are wheat, and it is your destiny to be separate from the tares!

By: Frances Swaggart

One of the most important subjects that can be addressed today is the home. The home is of critical importance in the stability of any society. In view of this, we are confronted with an awesome problem in America —the rising statistics of divorce, the increase of non-committal couples living together, and society’s remaking and redefinition of the family unit. This is a serious problem since the strength of the home is the foundation of our nation. As the home goes, so goes the country, and so goes the world.

Today we have a generation of young people who, in many ways, grew up homeless. I don’t mean that they grew up fending for themselves on the streets (although some surely did), but rather those who grew up without parents and grandparents who knew how to create and sustain a godly home life.

As Christians, we need to know how to create such an environment for our children and our grandchildren. That’s why I’ve decided to reprint my husband’s article series, “The Successful Home and Marriage.” Each month I will use this space to share his teachings on topics that will help you to build a strong home, a stable marriage, and children of character who are secure in their relationships with their parents and with the Lord.

SOCIETY’S BASIC INSTITUTION

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18).

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4)

“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mat. 19:4-6).

God created three great institutions: the church, the home, and the state (government). These institutions have survived throughout history. Without them, the world would not have survived. They are not only three great factors in life, but also great restraining forces on the plans Satan has for the world.

If questioned on the subject, many might automatically assume that the church (the body of Christ) is God’s most important institution. Naturally, the state is also extremely important. A nation must have some form of government or there would be anarchy and chaos.

With all deference to the importance of the church and state, the home is the most important of God’s three institutions. It was the home that God created first in the garden of Eden, at the same time He created Adam and Eve. The home is the first institution on which God placed His divine seal of approval. It is the oldest institution in society—and it is also the basic and most important element in society. It has been said, and correctly, “as the home goes, so goes the world.”

IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL

Someone said that the three sweetest words in the English language are mother, home, and heaven. We should point out that mother and heaven are centered about the middle word, which is home. No one thinks about mother without thinking about home, and the home should be the picture and reminder of heaven. The home should be peaceful: it should be so good, so beautiful, that it can be thought of as a little bit of heaven right here on earth. The father should be a representative of God—and the mother representative of God’s grace and love.

Children ought to love their home so much that, every time they think of it, there will be a pleasant memory to comfort them. The home certainly should be a reminder of heaven, because whenever someone thinks of heaven, they tend to think about the loved ones they expect to meet again, “over there.” What a common thread in everyone’s Christian’s life. A mother, an aunt, a sister, a brother, a son or daughter—whoever it may be—when they depart to be with the Lord, they are missed and saddened hearts long after them. What a comfort it is to know that there will be a reunion in heaven’s glory someday. So the home is really rooted deeply in the heart’s tenderest thoughts, and in memories and aspirations of a better land where loved ones must no longer be saddened by suffering through loss and separation.

PEOPLE ARE PLACED IN FAMILIES

Psalm 68:6 tells us, “God setteth the solitary in families.” This may seem like a strange passage of Scripture. It means, really, that one of the greatest blessings God gives the human race is the home and the family. It is one of the most tender, blessed, memorable, and enjoyable arrangements that God offers to His children.

The design God has for the home sounds wonderful and idealistic. Everything God creates is good, and everything is meant to be a blessing. When God ordained the home, He ordained it to be a bit of heaven on earth. When He is truly head of the home, it functions according to His principles. It can thus be, in fact, a bit of heaven on earth.

BAD SITUATIONS EXIST

Even though God ordained the home—and even though His desire is for it to be a preview of heaven—there are many homes in a state of disruption and disarray, torn to pieces by strife. The home can be the best thing this side of heaven—or the worst thing this side of hell. Since it is ordained by God and the basic element in our society, Satan naturally does everything he can to destroy it. Approximately 40 percent of the homes in the United States are broken by divorce—and this is also true of many other countries. The enemy is doing everything possible to destroy the foundation and fiber of society, beginning with the home, and especially the institution of marriage itself.
HOME INVOLVES MARRIAGE

You cannot have a home without marriage. Marriage is, of necessity, involved in the establishing of a home. Satan has done everything he can to get people to ignore marriage and to just live together. Living together without marriage, of course, constitutes adultery. Some state that the marriage vow and the marriage certificate are nothing more than a formality and a piece of paper. That is an absurd and foolish statement. A $20 bill is just a piece of paper; the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and other priceless documents are just pieces of paper. The good and important institutions we have and depend on are, almost without exception, formalized by pieces of paper.

The marriage vow and certificate involve a commitment made, and this is the basic element in the development of a home. You can’t really have home without a marriage. Four or five young women living together do not make a home. Several young men sharing an apartment do not make a home. It takes marriage to make a home. Even when one of the mates in a marriage has gone on to be with the Lord, the memory of that home, and what it meant, still binds and cements together those left behind. It definitely takes a marriage to make a home.

The institution of marriage and the home is not something to be taken lightly. It was ordained by God. He made this clear and very obvious in His Word. He said in Genesis 2:18 that it is not good for man to be alone. He went on to say He would make a help meet (suitable) for him.

HOW GOD DID IT

It is recorded in Genesis 2:21-25:

“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

God created woman and brought her to Adam. It was God who taught them the meaning of marriage. When they were brought together, it was no doubt the original example of love at first sight. They were the first couple wedded, as God gave the command to “be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it.”

God made man and woman for each other. It can truthfully be said that God Himself performed the first marriage ceremony, right there in the garden. Marriage is a holy and beautiful institution—a condition ordained and approved by God. It is the first and oldest institution in human society. God ordained this for man’s good and happiness, and simultaneously it is done for God’s own glory.

In New Testament times, Jesus Himself added His blessing to marriage by endorsing the Genesis account of the creation of man and woman for each other. He said:

“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mk. 10:6-9) So our Lord personally confirmed and endorsed marriage as a holy and divine institution. It is significant that Jesus was born into this world within the framework of a home and family. God could have sent His Son into this world in some miraculous way, into a situation devoid of association with the normal family structure. But God chose the home as the instrument through which to introduce the blessed Redeemer to the world.

While our Lord was not conceived in the natural way of procreation (and did not have a human father), Jesus was born into a home. Mary and Joseph were engaged, betrothed to be married. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary before she and Joseph became one in marriage—as is clearly stated in the Word of God. But God instructed Joseph, before Jesus was born, to take Mary as his wife, and to care for her. It thus turned out that Jesus not only had a mother, but Joseph was also present to serve as a father figure during Jesus’ early life—although he was, in truth, his foster father.

JESUS HONORED HIS PARENTS

Luke tells us about our Lord Jesus when was just 12 years old, going to Jerusalem with His parents. Jesus honored His home, and made it a holy institution. He chose to be born into humble circumstances and He honored His parents.

I believe Jesus was raised in a humble home so He could relate to the average person living in the average home. Jesus’ home was one in which the relationship of Joseph and Mary honored and glorified God.

Mary and Joseph loved one another tenderly and together cared for the baby Jesus, God’s own Son. So Jesus had a home, and while not much is said about the first 30 years of His life, there is enough revealed to know that He lived as we do, in a home. Jesus’ early life, therefore, glorified home and marriage. Marriage is often referred to as holy matrimony and certainly it is a divine institution. According to the Bible, matrimony is to be holy. This divine institution of matrimony came long before any other social institution, such as human governments.

The church, of course, is extremely important. As people began to multiply and increase, they began to worship. This can be seen in the biblical account of the history of the Jewish nation. As a separated people, they were given forms of worship by God. One can look back to Mount Sinai and see some of the instructions given for their worship.

The church is made up of believers. It is the body of Christ. It is immensely important and has a rich history. But neither the church nor human government—though divinely ordained—are as old or as sacred as the institution of marriage. This was instituted by God in the garden of Eden, and its importance has not diminished over the 6,000 years of history since its institution.

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